Now, what do you think Carl does at this point? Does he say to himself, “Argh! What luck! I’ll go buy myself a pint at the island pub”? Probably not. If this were Carl’s reaction, then Carl is not a very good pirate. Or should I say, “bad pirate”? SKILLED pirate.
Chances are (or “argh”) he’d grab a shovel and start hastily digging for treasure.
When I think about the value of an idea, I think about this story of Carl the pirate. An idea by itself, like a single gold doubloon, isn’t worth very much. But an idea, like a single gold doubloon, is rarely by itself, it only appears to be. If we’re willing to dig a little, we will almost always find some sort of treasure hidden underneath the surface.
The best pirates never settle for noticing the X that marks the spot. The best pirates know that noticing the X is only the beginning of the job. The best pirates show up ready to do some digging and get dirty.
There are Xs all around us, everyday. The best writers, actors, and entrepreneurs do not settle for just finding the X. They know that X marks the spot where their idea can be developed. It means that it’s time to start digging and find some treasure.
Sure, there are bad ideas out there. Some “gold doubloons” turn out to be seashells. But we’ll never know if we don’t dig. An idea left undeveloped is just as good as a treasure left under the sand.